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Nestlé shareholder vote on health resolution – ShareAction response

(Thursday 18th April) Commenting on the outcome of the vote to increase the sales of healthier food options at Nestlé’s Simon Rawson, Deputy Chief Executive of ShareAction said:

“While the vote we achieved today may be less than we wanted, the direction of travel is clear. Investors and consumers are recognising the importance of addressing the business risks and public health impacts of an industry that is heavily reliant on the sales of unhealthy food. They have growing expectations not only from Nestlé but from all food manufacturers.

Left unaddressed, the public health trends that spurred this resolution will only worsen; consequently we expect investor support for such resolutions at food companies to increase.

We look forward to continued engagement with Nestlé and hope to see progress towards the health goals the company itself claims.

While the majority of shareholders did not support the resolution, we hope that it has encouraged them to think about the public health impacts of their investments.

We know that while many supported the objectives of the resolution, the fact that shareholder proposals in Switzerland require amendment to companies’ articles of association deterred many from voting in support. These rules need reform to create a route for constructive shareholder proposals that does not require changes to the articles. There is investor appetite for it.”

Notes to editors

The full results of the vote were: 11% for, 88% against and 1% abstained.

More information on the resolution can be found here, and the full resolution text can be read here and the list of co-filing investors is below:

Co-filers: Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), Candriam, La Francaise Asset Management, VGZ, and Guys and St Thomas’s Foundation

ShareAction’s Healthy Markets team works with investors to urge the food industry to lead the drive for healthier food options for all. Our coalition calls on food and drink companies to report transparently around the healthiness of their portfolios as well as to set ambitious targets to reduce overreliance on sales of high fat, sugar and salt products.

ShareAction is an NGO working to shape a world where the financial system serves our planet and its people. We mobilise global investors to use their influence to drive up labour standards, tackle climate change, protect the natural world, and improve people’s health. We push policymakers to ensure the financial system is working in the best interests of society. We work with people to create a movement for change. Visit or follow us @ShareAction to find out more.

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